Welcome to the 10th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pediatric Pain Medicine (SPPM)! It is my honor to chair this meeting on March 30, 2023, which marks our first decade as a Society. What a milestone! Our Society membership has more than tripled in size since being established in 2013 and has become increasingly more diverse with rising numbers of psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, and non-anesthesiologist physicians. I am thrilled to see new faces at the SPPM meeting year after year. The SPPM Education Committee has worked diligently to incorporate your speaker and topic suggestions for this year’s celebratory meeting and bring you a program worthy of our motto “to better care for children in pain.” The general sessions, practice-based learning discussions (PBLD), round table discussions (RTD), poster sessions, and workshops should offer something of interest to anyone devoted to pediatric pain medicine. We will reflect on the last decade, by showcasing the multidisciplinary aspect of our specialty in several sessions as well as by bringing in all nine past meeting chairs as speakers or moderators. You will notice a balance between classic sessions such as the Pro/Con debate and poster awards, as well as some newer topics I hope you will enjoy.
As I write this message, the pandemic has taken a back seat and while it has forever marked our lives, in most of the world things have returned to normalcy. We plan to meet in person at the JW Marriott Austin, in Austin, TX, and I hope to see many of you there. Austin is not only the Texas State Capitol, it is also known as the Live Music Capital of the World. Besides music festivals, this vibrant city proudly hosts the largest urban bat colony in the world! One and a half million bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge over the Colorado River, and you can usually spot them taking flight around sunset from March through October. I just learned that one of Austin’s nicknames is “The City of the Violet Crown” earned from its stunning purple sunsets. With luck, we might see a few bats and a purple sunset! But if you need more reasons to come to Austin this spring, Pediatric Anesthesiology 2023, the annual winter meeting of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, will also be held at the JW Marriott Austin following the SPPM meeting, March 31-April 2, 2023.
Because of the success of previous virtual meetings (most recently, SPPM Global), we will maintain a virtual option for all general sessions for those who cannot or choose not to travel. Our workshops, PBLDs, RTDs and the moderated poster session will all take place in-person. While the general sessions will take place during the one-day meeting on March 30, a welcome reception and three workshops will be offered for those arriving the day before: a hands-on workshop on ultrasound guided interventional techniques in chronic pain management; a pain neuroscience education workshop for pediatric chronic pain; and a workshop on reducing pain associated with vascular access.
On Thursday March 30, the meeting will begin with our keynote lecture given by Dr. Santhanam Suresh, a pediatric anesthesiologist, from Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, renowned nationally and internationally for having transformed pain management in children, specifically for his innovations in the use of regional anesthesia. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of our Society, Dr. Suresh will reflect on the evolution of pediatric regional anesthesia over the last decade and as seen through his own practice. In keeping with the theme “to better care for children in pain,” Dr. Suresh will also discuss the role of regional anesthesia in building a pain free environment. I am thrilled to have him open the meeting.
The second session of the day is centered on the integration of technology in several aspects of pain medicine. We will hear short talks from four dynamic speakers: Dr. Vanessa Olbrecht from Nationwide Children's Hospital will address the role of virtual reality for perioperative pain management; Dr. Ellen Wang from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital-Stanford will discuss how to best use technology for safe opioid prescribing; Dr. Anna Woodbury, from Emory will review the various neuromodulatory devices and therapies available for acute and chronic pain; and Dr. Karla Wyatt from Texas Children's will close the session by bringing us up to speed on the recent technological advances in regional anesthesia.
After a coffee break, we will jump into our third session focused on a collaborative approach to pain in young athletes. This topic is especially relevant in the aftermath of the pandemic with sports injuries on the rise. Dr. Henry Ellis, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Scottish Rite for Children will kick off this session by sharing the surgeon’s perspective on pain syndromes in athletes; Dr. Alvina Rosales, a pediatric psychologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles will address the psychological impact of persistent pain in athletes and strategies to return to play; Dr. Robert S. Lang from Nemours Children’s Hospital will discuss novel regional techniques for sports procedures; and Kim Clarno, a physical therapist from Crossover Health in Santa Clara, California, will review challenges and methods of rehabilitation for young athletes in pain.
Lunch is provided, during which you may choose to participate in one of our five PBLDs or two RTDs, and/or spend time with exhibitors and fellow SPPM members. After lunch, we will go straight into the popular Pro/Con debate. This year’s hot topic on the use of cannabinoids for pediatric pain will be debated by Dr. David Becker from UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, and Dr. Deepa Kattail from The Hospital for Sick Children. I still remember my first SPPM meeting and the Pro/Con debate between Dr. Stephen Hays and Dr. Connie Monitto. It was priceless and has been a meeting highlight ever since.
The fifth session of the day will be on chronic pain and palliative care. Our very own SPPM President, Dr. Robert T. Wilder from Mayo Clinic-Rochester, will instruct us on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on pain syndromes after which, Dr. Nancy Glass will discuss the challenges we face as providers caring for suffering children and their families. Both topics are very timely as we continue to see the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic whether it be for our patients with chronic pain or for us caregivers.
Last but not least, after a coffee break, we will head into the final session of the day featuring poster awards and presentations where we will hear directly from the award winners and their fantastic research contributions. This will segue into the moderated poster session which showcases the latest in pediatric pain research.
For those who enjoy small and interactive group learning, the day will end with three workshops: a hands-on workshop on basic ultrasound guided regional anesthesia; an acupuncture workshop on how to integrate it in pediatric perioperative care and pain medicine; and a workshop on a day in the life of a patient in an intensive interdisciplinary pain program. Don't be fooled by the late hour, we invite you to sign up early as these tend to fill up. After the meeting has concluded, Austin, its purple sunsets and music-themed nightlife await.
I thoroughly enjoyed serving as Program Chair for this meeting, working closely with speakers and moderators to build an exciting program. This has been a true collaboration and I could not have accomplished this without the help of several individuals. I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my Program Co-chair, Dr. Michelle Kars of Northwell Cohen Children’s Medical Center, who will serve as Program Chair for the 11th Annual Meeting of the SPPM on April 11, 2024, in Anaheim, CA, and Program Shadow, Dr. Amber Borucki of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals. Last year’s Program Chair, Dr. Deepa Kattail of The Hospital for Sick Children, SPPM President, Dr. Robert T. Wilder of the Mayo Clinic-Rochester, SPPM Education Committee Chair, Dr. Yuan-Chi Lin of Boston Children’s, and the entire SPPM Board of Directors all provided invaluable advice and support along the way. Lastly, thank you to Kim Battle and the entire SPPM staff at Ruggles, without whom none of this would have come together.
Remember, the SPPM is YOUR Society. Join as a member if you have not already done so and encourage colleagues to do the same. Please continue to help us deliver an outstanding educational program by filling out your evaluations at the completion of the meeting, and by sharing topics you want to hear about in future meetings.
I look forward to seeing you in Austin!
All Program & Schedule Times are Central Time (CDT).